Stranger Fruit

The *Virtual* Evolutionary Informatics Lab

PZ raises an excellent point about the hysteria being shown by Dembski and others regarding the "Evolutionary Informatics Lab" that Robert Marks was trying to host at Baylor. The Lab, you will remember, does not actually exist in any material sense – it is merely a webpage (currently here) which features the work of three individuals: Marks (at Baylor), Tomas English (with no affiliation), and William Basener (at Rochester Institute of Technology). There is no physical lab and never was. It’s a webpage that can be hosted anywhere (even the Discovery Institute). Marks and Dembski should have know that hosting on Baylor webspace would have caused a hue and cry. They could have avoided it by hosting the "lab" elsewhere. But they didn’t. I guess the propaganda value of crying "unfair" is too great for common sense to be applied.

Dembski is now exhorting the minions at Uncommon Descent to write to the Baylor Board of Regents about "this gross violation of academic freedom." He should remember how well the last letter campaign by his supporters (in support of Guillermo Gonzalez) went.


  1. #1 sparc
    September 14, 2007

    Propaganda value? I guess Dembski is just impressing himself with his self-referential “media coverage” noisiness. You will find the real numbers on my pages.

  2. #2 Doc Bill
    September 14, 2007

    Whosis reports that the owner of the New and Improved EvoInfo website is none other than our very own Dr. Dr. Dembski!

    Strange that the Dembsker isn’t listed under the People link, seeing as he’s the one making all the fuss.

  3. #3 Sean
    September 14, 2007

    Dembski protesting in favor of academic freedom?! That’s rich.

  4. #4 Robby
    September 15, 2007

    It seems there are three issues at stake here:

    1. Whether or not the university should host the webpage of a study group that reflects the research of a prof associated with the university.

    2. Whether or not the university should have returned the grant money acquired by Marks for his research, which the university president/department had apparently already approved.

    3. Whether or not Marks’ papers about evolutionary computation (concerning Schneider’s and Lenski’s work) represent valid or invalid scientific inquiry/criticism. This would affect whether or not the university had the right to pull the plug on Marks since, according to Baylor, Marks’ research was not ‘approved research,’ and whether or not the university had the right to threaten marks with supervisory measures to make sure that he didn’t try to traipse back into the area of evolutionary computation with any sort of university affiliation or resources. The way I see it, if Marks’ papers are good, then the university is indeed stifling his academic freedom. If Marks’ papers represent pseudoscience, then maybe the DI is crying wolf.

    Where do you stand, John, in regard to the university’s action on these three issues?

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